In a companion to Apple Pie ABC (2011), Murray reworks another familiar rhyme into a drama pitched perfectly for preschoolers.
Endpapers hint at the plot and provide an opportunity to identify numbers, colors and story elements. More foreshadowing occurs in the cozy scene of the returning heroine and her beagle opposite the title page; she is reading, appropriately, To Catch a Thief. Immediately the pace quickens as the dog snatches the child’s shoe and cavorts through the house, garden and gate. The brief, rhymed text (“One… / Two / That’s my shoe!”) is carefully placed to allow viewers time to count the teddy bears, flowers, etc., along the way. Each numeral appears with a matching set of objects in a block anchored to a page corner; the number is spelled out nearby. Warm cream backgrounds showcase the pale turquoise rectangles of the flooring, the brilliant red chair, tulips and shoes and the green patches of grass and tree canopy. The illustrator’s background in textiles is evident in the retro styling and meticulous design. A wash line scene, in which the two figures are silhouetted behind transparent, patterned sheets drying on a line, offers an entertaining visual trick. In a satisfying conclusion, hens chase the dog, setting the stage for a homophonic “Shoo!” and a narrative twist.
Count on repeated readings of this fun and frisky tale. (Picture book. 18 mos.-5)